8 killed in deadly California boat fire; 26 missing

8 killed in deadly California boat fire; 26 missing”

In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, firefighters work to extinguish a dive boat engulfed in flames after a deadly fire broke out aboard the commercial scuba diving vessel off the Southern California Coast Monday morning, September 2, 2019.

The Daily Beast quoted Captain Brian McGrath of the Ventura County Fire Department as saying that there were deaths. The fire broke out as the boat sat anchored in Platt's Harbor off Santa Cruz Island.

The USCG said crews were searching for 34 people who had not yet been rescued from the blaze on the 75-foot vessel. "The call was garbled, it was not that clear, but we were able to get some information out of it to send vessels on scene", Barney said. Most passengers aboard were sleeping below deck when the blaze began, according to the Associated Press.

Nash said that officials are hoping people went over the side of the boat and made it to Santa Cruz.

At 3:15 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard and Ventura County Fire Department crews rushed to the spot following a call that "Conception", a charter dive boat with 39 people, was ablaze 20 yards off Platts Harbor.

An earlier version of this story identified the boat that rescued crew members of the Conception as the Great Escape.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation by local, state and federal authorities, but in response to a reporter's question, Brown said there was no initial report of an explosion, as some have speculated.

Four bodies were recovered in the waters off Santa Cruz Island on Monday afternoon, near where the doomed vessel, the Conception, had been anchored overnight. The Coast Guard is "conducting shoreline searches for any available survivors", Rochester added.

"When we looked out, the other boat was totally engulfed in flames, from stem to stern", Hansen said in an interview with the New York Times.

Brown said authorities had a full passenger list, but wouldn't be releasing any names until next-of-kin were notified.

As for the surviving crew members, "They jumped off" the burning boat and were rescued by a "good Samaritan vessel" called the Grape Escape, she said.

The Truth Aquatics website says that the Conception entered service in 1981. Some things that get reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong.

Firefighters are having difficulties snuffing out the fire, Bemis said, because each time it's extinguished, it flares back up - perhaps because of the fuel on board.

People hug each other as they await news outside of the Truth Aquatics office in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019.

The vessel, Conception, was operated by Santa Barbara-based Worldwide Diving Adventures, which said on its website it has been operating such expeditions since 1972.

"The Conception burned down to the water line", said Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason.

The Coast Guard had said earlier that the crew of the Conception issued a mayday call at around 3.30 a.m. on Monday, to which emergency teams from the Coast Guard, Santa Barbara Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and Vessel Assist responded.

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